“RAWHIDE: Herding the Deployment Cattle” By Matthew Paulini (AFRL/RISD) and Lt Matthew Carpenter (HAF/A4L Tesseract)
“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.” – Tom Peters
Through an expansive data-driven dashboard and intuitive user-driven workflow, mobility operations can be streamlined to enable agile logistics at the tactical edge. We are excited to introduceRAWHIDE, a $4M government-owned project, set to develop a flexible and responsive digital platform that will transform the Cargo Deployment Function (CDF).
“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics” – Sun Tzu
Taking shape under a growing partnership between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate Warfighter Integration Branch (RISD) and Tesseract, the Air Force’s Office of Logistics Innovation, RAWHIDE is the second building block of a larger vision to Accelerate Change and elevate mission readiness by revolutionizing how the Joint Force utilizes cutting-edge technology for deployment. This is a challenging information science problem, especially in the current Air Force Logistics environment, but one with tremendous payoff. Rapid deployability is vital to our national security and, with ever-growing Competition, systems to support swift response or even predictive logistics are crucial to project force effectively in a high-end fight.
To see the potential of such a system, you need not look any further than Tesseract’s URSUS Pathfinder; a strategic initiative in collaboration with the same partnership. Reimagining how Individual Protective Equipment (IPE) is ordered, managed, and distributed, URSUS 1.0 showed significant success in it’s minimum-viable-product (MVP). During an operational demonstration at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), URSUS reported a 94% efficiency increase in the processing of IPE. This savings directly translates to both readiness and Returning Time to Airmen, as highlighted by Major General Linda Hurry during the 2021 Logistics Officer Association Symposium. Following the successful demonstration, the investment in URSUS has grown from an initial $300K MVP to $1.8M+ with investments from the Air National Guard, Headquarters Air Force, and AFRL.
Building upon the foundation of AFRL’s DOGTAG Portfolio and Tesseract’s URSUS Pathfinder, RAWHIDE will be a scalable, cloud-native, responsive web application that is armed with the tools and guide rails to reimagine the currently manual and often paper-based practices. By emphasizing operational accuracy, process efficiency, and joint warfighter-focused user experience, RAWHIDE is positioned to transform the deployment process as we know it! Through the platform’s extensive real-time mission management, common operational oversight, data-driven decision making, and robust altering system, Warfighters at every level will have the tools to address mission requirements regardless of operational background, experience, or knowledge set; therefore, supporting Agile Combat Employment. From cargo documentation preparation and inspection to increment tracking and after-action analysis, RAWHIDE is set to be the Air Force’s Turbo Tax™ for cargo deployment!
“Partnership is not a posture but a process – a continuous process that grows stronger each year as we devote ourselves to common tasks.” – John F. Kennedy
Implementing tools to address the immediate needs of Airmen at the tactical edge undoubtedly has its challenges. Aligning those needs with scientific core technical competencies, National Defense Strategy, Senior Leader priorities, while also achieving functional alignment is no small undertaking. In fact, this dynamic can often lead to incredible technologies falling into the “Valley of Death” never making it into the hands of our warfighters. However, the collaboration between Tesseract and AFRL is finding a way to successfully navigate this labyrinth.
There is strength in numbers, but an even greater strength exists in partnerships. The growing collaboration between Tesseract and the AFRL Information Directorate has demonstrated the incredible value that results from intentionally aligning the science and technology community, with operational warfighters, and functional leadership. Together, we are amplifying the voice of our Airmen and actualizing innovation at the Speed of Relevance.
“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” – Henry Ford